I Can See Clearly Now- Safety Moment

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a Safety Talk. From the stats, I know how you all love those. Safety is a necessary part of our daily pest service. Personal Protective Equipment is a MUST!

All of the labels for the pesticides and rodenticides we use have PPE requirements. Have you actually read those labels? Each one has different protective needs. Long pants. Socks. Safety shoes. Long sleeve shirt. Gloves. Respirator. Chemical proof apron. Safety eyewear.

I have worn contact lenses for the better part of 30 years, and have used some form of plastic eye protection when I needed it. Recently, I had to switch back to using my glasses because I have “graduated” to bi-focals. (Yes, I’m old) I have always kept a pair of prescription safety glasses around in case I needed them. Well, NOW, I need them.

I keep my glasses stored in the console of my truck, and pulled them out of the case to dust them off. After a quick cleaning, I tried them on. The nose piece felt a little different, and the left temple wasn’t sitting quite right. I went to look in the mirror to check my reflection. My pink and gray prescription safety glasses were crooked, not just leaning. The adjustment was SO bad, that my right eye line of sight was looking at the top of the frame.

I knew I had to get repairs done, so off to the doctor’s office I went. After several tries to straighten the frames, the technician just replaced them. “Rather than fighting with these,” she said, “I will swap the frames. You’ve still got warranty left.” SCORE!

I was excited to get my safety glasses repaired. Now, I had some with color – not those clear plastic, no style kind.

Product labels are full of information. PPE is an important part of that label and can usually be found on the first page. After you “skim” the label for application directions,(I know you do this) go back and REALLY read the Personal Protective Equipment requirements. The best time to absorb information, is BEFORE you lose sight of safety.

Let Me Tell You Something…

You were adamant about not wanting to spend money – again. You thought the Do It Yourself products from the home supply store were the answer. You kept applying those store bought pesticides, but somehow, you never quite got a handle on your pest situation. I know – it’s infuriating.

So… you took the plunge and hired a pest control professional. Congrats!

Thank you for allowing us into your homes and businesses. We are happy to be here. We truly want to help.

As you are telling us about everything you have tried to do to get the pest levels under control, we are thinking about all the reasons you should have called us first. Pest control should not be DYI. We have training and licensing for a reason.

Here are 15 THINGS that your PCO really wants to say to you, but you don’t want to hear.

1. Those store bought pesticides are OK, but you really need the quality of Commercial Grade products.

2. Did you bother to read the labels? For PPE requirements? For treatment frequency? I doubt it.

3. Why did you let your kids handle this? You know young ones put everything in their mouths.

4. You’ve got multiple products that have the same MOA. Do you even know what Mode Of Action is?

5. This label says only use every 21 days. That means I can’t use that same Active Ingredient for you today.

6. You tried using antifreeze to catch a mouse. In the kitchen? Near your food? OMG!

7. Coffee grounds smell great, but the fact that you placed them as a “barrier” is probably why you have cockroaches.

8. NO! Rodent bait blocks in the bathroom won’t kill spiders.

9. Yes, hairspray WILL kill a wasp on the patio. You did this when your BBQ grill was on? I’m surprised you didn’t burn your house down.

10. No, I won’t come back to see the dead bugs. I’ll take your word for it.

11. Cornmeal, black pepper, oregano, and vinegar is a great start to a home cooked Italian meal. Not great for ants.

13. No! Spraying pesticides won’t kill mice, but you could drown them in a bucket full.

12. Rubbing alcohol isn’t labeled for pesticide use, but thanks for killing germs on the mattress.

14. Bird seed feeds the birds, but leftovers feed the mice.

15. I’ll see your Internet reference, but raise you my trusted industry knowledge on this issue.

To my fellow Pest Control Professionals: Always treat your customers with respect and handle each situation with grace. THEN… share all of these stories with each other.

Tornados & Rodents: Emergency Plan

It’s the middle of Winter! Why do we need to hear the tornado siren in the 1st Monday of the month? Tornadoes are unlikely this time of year, but possible. So our community tests the siren.

During that trial run of a low, dull, whi…whi….whining sound of the siren, I tend to ignore the noise. I know, I shouldn’t take for granted that there isn’t severe weather nearby. I should to use this opportunity to practice my emergency plan.

The same could be said of rodent control services. Yessiree…. Rodent management needs an emergency plan. How many pests are considered “acceptable”, before extra measures are enacted? Those of us with an interest in Integrated Pest Management call it an ACTION THRESHOLD.

That plan of action should begin as a truthful, open conversation with the customer. A threshold limit needs to be addressed. Zero is not considered to be a practical threshold number. Corrective actions for managing a surge need to be in place.

Will extra traps be set? Or is additional monitoring sufficient? More frequent cleaning could be the key. How will you locate the rodent runs? Do you think a motion trail camera could help? Which actions are the PCO’s responsibility? Which items can the customer comfortably handle?

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I have set up rodent control services for many customer accounts. Multi catch traps and rodent bait stations placed according to, what I think are, facility needs could be considered the “trial run”. At this point, I am trying to prepare for, and discourage, rodent activity.

After doing the initial inspection, and taking a glance at the previous pest company’s reports, (with a sly grin, while wringing my hands) I am certain I have found the areas where rodents are likely to be making their run. Some burrowing, and sebum rub marks are prevalent. Now I wait.

After a week or so, I am back to check on the rodent feeding in those stations. It’s somewhat hit and miss on where the rodents chose to eat. “Poor fella has a tummy ache”, when I find a house mouse struggling to breathe.

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Now that I have been servicing these rodent devices for a bit, I am thinking the rodent issue is at a manageable level. Wrong! A customer calls in panic mode. There are rodents in areas where they are not welcome. Now is the time to activate that emergency plan, NOT create one.

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That remote activated tornado siren I hear on first Mondays doesn’t scare me. It lets me plan for emergency situations. I doubt the mice nearby actually care about it either, but I’ve got a remedial plan for them.

CEUs & Random Facts

I will be taking a break from this forum until after the new year. Stay safe. Enjoy your family. Cook great food. Merry Christmas.

It’s that time of year. Time to get all my continuing education credits in order. I’ve got several licenses that are due by December 31. I’ve been keeping a file, so this should be simple. Well, maybe not stressful.

Through hardships to the stars

Let’s start with my home state of Kansas. I know I’ve got enough CEUs to renew my fumigation and general pest licensing. I checked with the Kansas Department of Ag. They sent me a letter saying so. The renewal is open: Done.

OK state bird – Scissortail Fly Catcher

Oklahoma Department of Food & Forestry says I needed 2 fumigation credits. I did some digging and found that I had taken some online classes that counted for CEUs. They never got recorded. Email sent. Email received. Continuing education credits accounted for. Thank goodness. Please don’t make me take that test again.

This fruity drink originated in Nebraska

Nebraska doesn’t require me to obtain CEUs because my licensing in that state is reciprocal to Kansas. My renewal for Kansas had to be processed first. A few emails later – State #3 – Completed!

Iced tea was invented in Missouri

I am new to Missouri and Texas for licensing renewals. I was certified in the middle of the cycle, and checked on the criteria. Both of these are reciprocal to Kansas, so no additional CEUs are needed. Whew!

Cattle drive in Ft. Worth Stockyards

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My Associate Certified Entomologist certificate is due this December, too. Those fees and requirements are somewhat steeper. There is a Code of Ethics that goes with that. In order to renew my ACE, I had to make sure at least one of my state licensing certifications got approved first. I have sent in all of the paperwork. I am excited to see who signs my certificate this time.

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I am in a webinar study group to get my Public Health Entomology certification. No continuing education credits are required to maintain this one. I am feeling positive about passing this exam. Most of the training information is similar to my ACE. I am planning on testing in February or March 2021. Fingers crossed 🤞

🥾🧢🧤🥽🦺GIRL TALK FEATURE

Darrian Nadeau – Accurate Pest Control, Schenectady, NY-Commercial Manager

My Name Is…..

The internet has thousands, maybe millions of chat groups. I am subscribed to a few of those featuring the pest control industry. I have talked about how an all women’s group was my favorite. You read the blog post. You know why.

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While chatting in one of these pest control groups, I asked one participant why there was so much rodent bait in a station. I was concerned that a label violation had occurred. I sent a screenshot of the highlighted portion of said label. “I am partial to keeping my licensing. I hope we all are,” I stated. The response – (typed exactly)Calm Down KAREN!

I replied with a mouse smiley face.

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I am not angry. I don’t feel entitled. I don’t have short blonde hair. (See profile pic) I am, usually, not obnoxious. I don’t feel any more privileged than anyone else – male or female – except that I have a great family. I have awesome friends, and people generally like me.

OK. OK. If you are going to call me Karen, I guess I’d better pick which one I want to be.

Maybe I can be a Karen Carpenter type, with the voice that spans generations. I could sing “We’ve Only Just Begun” or “Hurting Each Other” to let the world know that I’m not tolerant of label breaking pest control operators….P.S. You REALLY don’t want to hear me sing.

Karen Carpenter

I could be Karen Dotrice, the cute, adorable Jane Banks from Mary Poppins. The Karen who is a Shakespearean trained actress. The Karen who stared in movies alongside Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, James Earl Jones, and Tim Curry……. “Cute & adorable” only applies when I talk to mice.

Karen Dotrice

One of my Karen personas might be Karen (Duff) Duffy, the 1990’s era MTV VJ, who is now a certified hospital chaplain. She is also an actress who played a role in “Dumb & Dumber”. I highly doubt she’s dumb. Between accounts, the radio in my work truck blasts SiriusXM, sometimes with a pest control podcast.

Karen Duffy

I don’t have any ambition to be a political player, but Karen Pence did. The wife of United States Vice President Mike Pence holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She did some illustrations for a children’s book. I tend to like her, because she was a long tenured teacher. This Karen might be a good fit for me. We share the same birthday, a few years apart.

Karen Pence

Last, but not least, there is Frosty The Snowman’s friend Karen. A smart, caring, independent, little girl who just wants to keep her wintertime pal around. She even hops a train to get Frosty to the North Pole.

Karen

================== In all seriousness, Read Labels, Follow Application Information, Know Your Target Pest, and by all means, Protect the Certified Applicator licensing you worked so hard to get. ==================

My name is Melisa, not Karen. If I had to choose which alternate persona I could be, it might be ANY Karen. I haven’t met anyone named Karen who I thought would be a wrong fit to emulate.

I did a quick search on LinkedIn for KAREN. More than 1.2 million results populated. Not to shabby. And…. I added a few of them to my network list. Mic 🎤 drop

Melisa Arnold, A.C.E. – Owner- Horizon Pest Solutions LLC, New Cambria, KS